You are viewing the page for Dec. 9, 2013
  Select another date:
<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids Internet Shopping Sites high quality binoculars excellent weather stations all-metal reflector telescopes rotatable microscopes
Solar wind
speed: 416.7 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2346 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: C1
1808 UT Dec09
24-hr: C2
1130 UT Dec09
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2300 UT
Daily Sun: 09 Dec 13
Sunspot AR1916 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SDO/HMI
Sunspot number: 83
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 09 Dec 2013

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 0 days
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 821 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days

09 Dec 2013

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 166 sfu
explanation | more data
Updated 09 Dec 2013

Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 2 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 2
explanation | more data
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 3.9 nT
Bz: 2.0 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2347 UT
Coronal Holes: 09 Dec 13
Spewing solar wind, a significant coronal hole is emerging over the sun's NE limb. Credit: SDO/AIA. posts daily satellite images of noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which hover over Earth's poles at the edge of space. The data come from NASA's AIM spacecraft. The north polar "daisy" pictured below is a composite of near-realtime images from AIM assembled by researchers at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP).
Noctilucent Clouds
Switch view: Europe, USA, Asia, Polar
Updated at: 12-08-2013 11:55:02
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2013 Dec 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
30 %
30 %
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2013 Dec 09 2200 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
25 %
05 %
10 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
15 %
15 %
30 %
20 %
35 %
10 %
Monday, Dec. 9, 2013
What's up in space

When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.

Northern Lights - a Guide

SUBSIDING METEOR OUTBURST: Prof. Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario reports that "the Andromedids are starting to fade from their peak of two days ago." Using the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR), Brown and colleagues have been monitoring an outburst of Andromedid meteors numbering as many as 20 per hour. Andromedid meteoroids come from Comet Biela, which broke apart in the 19th century. In recent years, Earth has been crossing through streams of debris from the doomed comet resulting in outbursts of meteors in 2011 and 2013. "Based on the radar data, I'd say activity will return to background levels later today," concludes Brown. "The best night for sky watchers to have seen Andromedids was probably Dec. 6-7."

COMET ISON UPDATE: Later this month, NASA plans to point the Hubble Space Telescope at Comet ISON to see if anything remains after the comet's death plunge through the sun's atmosphere on Nov. 28th. Note to Hubble: Don't expect to see much. Amateur astronomers are already searching the comet's position and setting hard limits on the brightness of any remains. Consider this image taken on Dec. 8th by Eric Allen of the Observatoire du Cégep de Trois-Rivières in Champlain, Québec:

The position of the comet--had it survived--is circled. "I unfortunately have to say that there is nothing down to about magnitude +16.5, not even a small condensation," says Allen. More information about Allen's observing techniques and image processing may be found here.

As Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab comments in his blog on the Comet ISON Observing Campaign web site: "The evidence appears strong that at some point approaching perihelion Comet ISON likely began to completely fall apart. What remains of ISON now is going to be either just a cloud of dust, or perhaps a few very depleted chunks of nucleus. Either way, it's not going to flare up at this point and we should assume the comet's show is over."

Comet ISON Photo Gallery

AURORAS AND METEORS: A fast stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. When the stream arrived during the late hours of Dec. 7th, a G2-class geomagnetic storm broke out around the poles and Northern Lights spilled over the Canadian border into several US states. Patrick Daigle sends this photo from Cameron, Montana:

"Just before bedtime I checked That made me change my plans," says Daigle. "Instead of going to bed, I went out into the cold (-24 F) in search of Northern Lights. While I was snapping pictures, I noticed well over a dozen shooting stars. I believe the one pictured above is an Andromedid."

NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of additional geomagnetic storms on Dec. 9th. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as the solar wind continues to blow. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

COMET LOVEJOY'S ACTIVE TAIL: Amateur astronomers around the northern hemisphere are reporting activity in the tail of naked-eye Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1). In Nagano, Japan, astrophotographer Kouji Ohnishi could see big changes in less than an hour of monitoring:

Michael Jäger saw the same "disconnection event" from his observatory in Masenberg, Austria, on Dec. 5th. The disturbance could be caused by a gust of solar wind or perhaps an episode of vigorous outgassing in the comet's core.

Comet Lovejoy is now about as bright as a 4th magnitude star. It is visible to the unaided eye from the countryside and is an easy target for backyard telescopes even in urban areas. Monitoring is encouraged. Comet Lovejoy rises in the east just before the morning sun. Sky maps: Dec. 7, 8, 9.

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

  All Sky Fireball Network
Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on

On Dec. 9, 2013, the network reported 22 fireballs.
(20 sporadics, 1 Geminid, 1 sigma Hydrid)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

  Near Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On December 9, 2013 there were 1445 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2013 WV43
Dec 3
9.5 LD
18 m
2013 XY8
Dec 11
2 LD
50 m
2011 YD29
Dec 28
6.1 LD
24 m
2007 SJ
Jan 21
18.9 LD
1.9 km
2012 BX34
Jan 28
9.6 LD
13 m
2006 DP14
Feb 10
6.2 LD
730 m
2000 EM26
Feb 18
8.8 LD
195 m
2000 EE14
Mar 6
64.6 LD
1.8 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
  Essential web links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
©2019 All rights reserved.